Our first “top albums from 2013” from our customers was Rick Medland’s list and now we are featuring Ryan Caley’s Top 50. What a list it is! I can’t imagine trying to knock out a top 50 list for one year of music, but that is just what Ryan has done. Links to videos or audio tracks are included. It’s a great read as you head into the top 10 and I can pretty well guarantee that you will find something new and different here that you may not have otherwise come across.
If you like what hear why not join the “b e a u t i f u l n o i s e” Facebook page where Ryan is one of the admins. So enjoy the read and listen to some tracks. Just remember, this is their personal view.
My Top 50 Albums of 2013
Well it’s now the end of 2013 so to end off the year I decided to rank what I felt were my top 50 albums of the year. Now instead of freezing everyone’s browser when opening this page because of 50 embedded youtube videos, I’ll leave links to songs via youtube, bandcamp and soundcloud which you can use as you please.
Now to kick things off I’ll start with 9 albums, in no particular order, that just missed the cut on this list:
50. Beaches – She Beats (Psychedelic – Australia – Chapter Music)
“Out Of Mind” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VYveE8z72I
49. Savages – Silence Yourself (Post-Punk – England – Matador)
“Shut Up” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G27S0f2FOI8
48. Future – Abyss EP (Shoegaze – France – self-released)
“Skylights” – http://futurebandclub.bandcamp.com/track/skylights
47. Dead Leaf Echo – Thought & Language (New Wave/Dream Pop – USA – self-released)
“Heavensent” – http://deadleafecho.bandcamp.com/track/heavensent
46. Dumb Numbers – Dumb Numbers (Noise Pop – USA – Joyful Noise)
“Breaking the Split-Screen Barrier” – https://soundcloud.com/cargorecords/dumb-numbers-breaking-the
45. Solar Powered People – The Scars We Own (Shoegaze/Post-Rock – USA – Three Ring)
“Away, to Stay” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0VEdsimV44
44. Drowner – You’re Beautiful, I Forgive You (Dream Pop – USA – Saint Marie)
43. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse (Dream Pop – USA – Fat Possum)
“Raspberry Cane” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EcoAziISwI
42. Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks (Industrial/Minimal Wave – USA – Universal)
“Copy of A” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSomIodjPKg
41. Medicine – To The Happy Few (Noise Pop/Shoegaze – USA – Captured Tracks)
“The End of the Line” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL_zee1E9Fs
40. Forest Swords – Engravings (Ambient/Instrumental Hip-Hop – England – Tri Angle)
39. Holograms – Forever (Post-Punk – Sweden – Captured Tracks)
“Meditations” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWGWXnFAO38
38. Star Horse – Lust (Dream Pop/Shoegaze – Sweden – self-released)
“Stranger” – http://starhorse.bandcamp.com/track/stranger
37. Odonis Odonis – Better EP (Noise/Industrial – Canada – Buzz)
“Flight Risk” – http://odonisodonis.bandcamp.com/track/flight-risk
36. Bardo Pond – Peace on Venus (Psychedelic/Noise – USA – Fire)
35. Fuzz – Fuzz (Psychedelic – USA – In the Red)
“Earthen Gate” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RfAK5ly0Q4
34. A$AP Rocky – Long.Live.A$AP (Hip-Hop – USA – RCA)
“Fashion Killa” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPhe9Ah8rKA
33. Tim Hecker – Virgins (Ambient/Drone – Canada – Kranky)
“Radiance” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T_NeXgif5E
32. Queens of the Stone Age – …Like Clockwork (Stoner – USA – Matador)
“I Sat By the Ocean” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOXaUjGk-yY
31. Black Hearted Brother – Stars Are Our Home (Space/Shoegaze – England – Slumberland)
“Stars Are Our Home” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6w3nXf0UvY
30. Weekend – Jinx (Shoegaze – USA – Slumberland)
“Adelaide” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm1aUbX_uJ0
29. Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty (Dream Pop/Goth – USA – Sargeant House)
28. David Bowie – The Next Day (Art Rock/Space – England – Columbia)
“Dancing Out In Space” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF2gDYTZzL8
27. Star Horse – Devour (Dream Pop/Shoegaze – Sweden – self-released)
“Hope To Feel a Hand” – http://starhorse.bandcamp.com/track/hope-to-feel-a-hand
26. Frankie Rose – Herein Wild (Dream Pop – USA – Fat Possum)
“Question/Reason” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqutcWWsR1g
25. Deafheaven – Sunbather (Black Metal/Shoegaze – USA – Deathwish Inc.)
“Dream House” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWyVhIBmdGw
24. Danny Brown – Old (Hardcore Hip-Hop – USA – Fool’s Gold)
“Dope Fiend Rental” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsPKTVZmxdc
23. suā – Twins EP (Shoegaze/Dream Pop – USA – self-released)
“Welcome” – http://suatheband.bandcamp.com/track/welcome
22. Pet Shop Boys – Electric (House/Synth Pop – England – x2)
“Bolshy” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8P3zaJberU
21. Candy Claws – Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time (Dream Pop/Psychedelic – USA – Twosyllable)
“Illusion (Fern Lake)” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-R2e8_hPxVE
…and after all that I’m now down to my top 20. It’s funny how this list kept growing over the last little while because I originally only meant to make this a top 20… there were just too many good albums out this year to ommit so many.
20. Vår – No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers (Alternative Dance/Post-Punk – Denmark – Sacred Bones)
“Pictures of Today/Victorial” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2INOPBSd2sc
19. Sigur Rós – Kveikur (Dream Pop/Post-Rock – Iceland – XL)
“Ísjaki” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF6E47Pn6mY
18. No Joy – Pastel and Pass Out (Shoegaze – Canada – Mexican Summer)
“Last Boss” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIlCcGozaGI
17. Tape Deck Mountain – Sway (Shoegaze – USA – Nineteen98)
16. Julia Holter – Loud City Song (Dream Pop/Ambient – USA – Domino)
“This is a True Heart” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcjmdqfbb4g
15. Silver Swans – Touch (Dream Pop – USA – self-released)
“Friendship” – http://silverswans.bandcamp.com/track/friendship
14. orange yellow red – A Rose Made of Galaxies (Dream Pop – England – Saint Marie)
“Into Your Arms” – http://orangeyellowredband.amazingtunes.com/tunes/235815
13. Factory Floor – Factory Floor (Minimal Wave/Industrial – England – DFA)
“Here Again” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDZhjKD7Mh0
12. Stargazer Lilies – We Are the Dreamers (Shoegaze/Ambient Pop – USA – Graveface)
“Endless Days” – http://graveface.bandcamp.com/track/endless-days
11. Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day (Dream Pop/Alt-Country – USA – Rhymes of an Hour)
“Common Burn” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT3jq8HOUAc
Now for the top 10… this just got more and more difficult as it went, and as much as it killed me to leave out some really great records from 11-20, namely Seasons of Your Day and We Are the Dreamers… these top 10 are well deserving:
10. Oneohtrix Point Never – R Plus Seven (Ambient/Vaporwave – USA – Warp)
This album is really all over the place, showing elements of ambient electronic and plunderphonics, as well as the notorious vaporwave genre and even dabbling into dream pop in some parts. A very intriguing follow-up to Lopatin’s critically acclaimed 2011 album Replica.
“Chrome Country” – http://vimeo.com/77986914
9. SPC ECO – Sirens and Satellites (Alternative Dance/Space – England – self-released)
Now I would be lying if I said this album didn’t surprise me… but wow. Love at first listen really, it takes you into another universe where things are vivid, colorful and very peaceful. This may be their best album to date.
“Hold On Me” – http://spceco.bandcamp.com/track/hold-on-me
8. Wax Idols – Discipline + Desire (Post-Punk/Garage Rock – USA – Slumberland)
Don’t be fooled by this album coming from an all female group off the Slumberland label; this is anything but soft. This post-punk quartet know how to drive a catchy tune right into your face and make you feel rebellious and angsty just listening to it. An album with a lot of depth and even more potential as this is just the band’s second full length album and a follow-up that may be even better than their stellar debut.
“When It Happens” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rv4A-UF21Pc
7. Melt-banana – Fetch (Noise – Japan – A-Zap)
They’re back! Holy hell are they ever back!! Their first release in over 7 years and it may just be one of their best. Yako Onuki, Ichiro Agata, Rika Mm’, and their revolving door of drummers form Melt-banana, a near legendary noise group in Japan, and fairly popular globally, and they surprised a lot of us by releasing a record in October without much notice. Even now not a lot of fans of the band are even aware that they released an album this year. It really flew under the radar but it’s a great release nonetheless.
“Schemes of the Tails” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjZFqCFsIBc
6. Soft Shadows – Reverb is for Lovers (Shoegaze – USA – self-released)
Three friends in Portland that release shoegaze music almost as a hobby, funding this album almost entirely on indiegogo donations, have caught the attention of some connoisseurs of the genre. DecayFM has this album near the top of its list of best shoegaze albums of 2013, and I have to agree with them by putting this in the top 10 of my general albums of the 2013 list.
“Country Lights” – http://softshadows.bandcamp.com/track/country-lights-2
5. Iceage – You’re Nothing (Post-Punk – Denmark – Matador)
This would be Elias Bender-Rønnenfelt’s second entry on this list (he’s a member of the band at #20, Vår). I picked up this album as an impulse buy about a week after its release, having always heard good things about Iceage but not having any clue what kind of music it really was (I actually assumed it was synth-pop or some bland indie-pop group at first… I’m still not sure why), I listened to it as soon as I got home and I definitely was not disappointed. For quite a while this was my #1 for the year, especially after seeing the band live back in August, this is heavy, it’s self-loathing, it’s energetic, and it’s everything you could ever possibly want on a punk album.
4. Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat (Ambient – USA – Kranky)
Grouper, or Liz Harris, has been around for quite some time now. Her sleep-deprived and modest appearance give a good idea as to what her music sounds like. It’s beautiful, yet dark, and blissful yet mysterious. This album drifts along perfectly, the intimacy between tracks makes them flow seemlessly between one another. Really not bad for a bunch of songs she didn’t want on Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill.
“Towers” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r30Agaemcc
3. No Joy – Wait To Pleasure (Shoegaze – Canada – Mexican Summer)
The first release (and only full-length of the year) from Montreal shoegazers No Joy is nothing short of breathtaking. Mind-altering noise, it makes you want to sleep and headbang at the same time. After a terrific debut in Ghost Blonde was followed up by a rather mediocre EP Negaverse, I for one thought No Joy would end up being a one and done type of group, however Wait to Pleasure blew Ghost Blonde, and nearly every other shoegaze record from the past half-decade out of the water (and their following EP Pastel and Pass Out, nearly just as good, but a little too short) and left me salivating for more. The opening track E ends with a wall-of-noise type atmosphere, and hearing it live was just that, a wall-of-noise, rivaling the volumes of live shows of the greatest of shoegazing bands (yes, I’m seriously saying it may have been louder than the end of a My Bloody Valentine concert). I am definitely looking forward to a possible forthcoming release in 2014, and you should be looking forward to it too.
“Slug Night” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma7HJqVENlc
Now for these final two… I spent nearly an entire month trying to figure out which should go first, and which should go second. Even as I’m typing this I’m still not too sure, although I am leaning towards one way, so I guess I’ll go for it. These are so close though, I was seriously considering a coin flip so really these are almost two #1’s to me. I just can’t have that for the sake of this list. Anyways, #2…
2. My Bloody Valentine – m b v (Shoegaze – Ireland – self-released)
Almost every modern music fan knows where they were the night this album dropped. Apparently frontman Kevin Shields was sleeping after a show in Japan (maybe Korea? Can’t remember) when tens of thousands of people looking to listen to the first MBV record in 22 years crashed the website and had error messages constantly stopping any traffic on the site whatsoever for nearly 4 hours. At the time I remember quite vividly the constant refreshing of the website, along with the threads on /mu/, chatting with a couple friends of mine (hint: Jennifer and Steven), frantically trying to find a way to set our ears on music that we were absolutely positive was going to change our lives (this may or may not have included sending a few nasty messages to people on last.fm who thought it would be funny to change the titles of songs in their media players so they could start scrobbling tracks from the album that no one else could listen to). We were right. Even today, when I listen to this album, I can tell it’s something special, and I consider myself one of the luckiest people on the planet to get to see them tour, when it was thought for the longest time, that the group was through with releasing music, or touring ever again. This is something that can end up being as revolutionary as Loveless over time, and it almost seems like with age, Shields’ experimentation with different genres and sounds seems to get vaster and vaster rather than sticking with what he’s familiar with. It also seems as if Bilinda Butcher and her gorgeous vocals are immortal. As thankful as I am for this very unexpected release, I truly hope it’s not the last from what’s come to be my favorite band of all.
“if i am” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ0axgeNbWU
1. Alameda 3 – Późne królestwo (Noise/Space – Poland – Milieu L’Acephale)
Alameda Trio is the fourth band of Polish musical prodigy Kuba Ziołek (he’s also among the founding members of Stara Rzeka, Ed Wood and T’ien Lai). This project of his however, may be his best. Późne królestwo is the type of album that comes along maybe once every couple decades. It’s unique, it’s deep, it’s bizarre, it’s beautiful, intricate, atmospheric, and above all, it’s loud. Very loud. Kuba’s songwriting on this album is a melting pot of genres, featuring bits of drone and black metal, along with ambient rock, shoegaze, dream pop, psychedelic rock, krautrock, noise, space, and even bits of mathcore thrown in because why not? This is a spectacular album, possibly even a masterpiece, and most certainly an epic (there’s three tracks up over 12 minutes on here). Based on just a few reviews on rateyourmusic, it’s fairly highly ranked on their top 500 of the year, which never seems to happen with so few ratings (another album he’s released this year with the drone metal group Stara Rzeka is in the top 100 on there too!) Hopefully this guy keeps doing what he’s doing because the first time I’d heard this album it was like a journey with all sorts of emotions not typically all brought up by a single album (I recall in just one track feeling, mellow, happy, angry, sorrowful, spiteful, menacing, blissful, dreamy and aggressive in the span of about 13 minutes). There’s sharp turns, petrified screams, melancholic interludes, and beautiful soundscapes riddled througout this entire album and I’m sure most of you will enjoy every second of it.
“Późne królestwo” – http://alamedacountydeathcult.bandcamp.com/track/p-ne-kr-lestwo
Thanks for going through all of this blabbering and here’s to what should be an exciting 2014 in the music world. : )